Member Spotlight: George Abrams Events

Integral to The Scout Guide Phoenix & Scottsdale’s mission is telling the stories behind the small businesses Scouted in each Volume. The story begins in print and continues online, after all. As you peruse Volume 2, we are thrilled to continue our story-telling mission with Member Spotlights…

Photography courtesy of George Abrams Events.

Recently, our Culinary Contributor, Marci Symington of TEXAZTASTE, met Volume 2 Member and longtime local event planner, George Abrams of the eponymous George Abrams Events, for lunch at Cocina Madrigal. Fast friends, the two enjoyed a long chat about event planning, George’s years in the business, and the Valley over queso fundido and shrimp tacos.

On the cusp of celebrating – no pun intended – twenty years in the event business, George dished about his career as a self-proclaimed ‘party broker.’ “We really like to think of ourselves as a ‘life-cycle’ company, we have families we have worked with from the cradle to the grave.” And while George and his team of talented experts do large-scale soirees, what separates George Abrams Events from other event planners is their ability to go small. “We love to do big… but we also do parties for as few as 5 people,” George shared.

And, no matter the size, what a party George Abrams Events throws. Whether you’ve been fortunate to attend a George Abrams Event or are planning your next soiree, keep reading for Marci and George’s chat. Expect everything from his origin story to tips on hosting like a pro…


20 years of bringing your vision to fruition, George Abrams has earned the title, “Life of the Party!”


The Scout Guide Phoenix & Scottsdale: Let’s dive right in… How did you get your start in the event industry?
George Abrams: Growing up, my mother was always entertaining, and I was always helping. Officially, my career started when I was 18-years old working as a gopher for Brady’s Interior Design and Florist (then THE florist in town), and I went from there to The Paper Place. I worked for ‘The Paper Place Girls’ – mother and daughters, Judy and Nancy Silver and Betsy Hendricks – for 10 years before moving on to work with my friend Kristy Moore at [the now sold] Continental Catering. Although I never did flowers or printed invitations or cooked food, I realized my skill was sourcing things for parties.

The Scout Guide Phoenix & Scottsdale: What motivated you to take the entrepreneurial leap?
George Abrams: It was in 2004 after working for a big catering company and developing a great client base, that I saw a need. I realized that if a client wanted a smaller party or a particular theme – and if I could bring in the food and the right staff – I could offer whatever they wanted for any occasion. Latin, Greek, Asian? We could do it all. Myself and my staff would be a constant, so clients wouldn’t have to worry about new people coming into their home. Essentially I became the middleman, handling all of the details to allow the client to feel comfortable.

George with his beautiful mother and Georgette Emmert at private residence. Photography courtesy of Andrew Shainker

The Scout Guide Phoenix & Scottsdale: Previously, you’ve referenced the difference between event planning and event execution in your industry. Can you speak to this?
George Abrams: With the advent of social media, you’ll see a great shot of 50 people with sparklers in their hand, but what you don’t know is whether they’ve had four times to take that ‘perfect shot’ or have been offered a drink yet. You can plan anything. But when it’s 1 am and you’re trying to get someone who’s been on their feet celebrating for hours, a lit sparkler, can you execute? That’s where my opinion and expertise comes in to create a beautiful experience. Personally, I don’t like to make my guests work for anything, which is one of the things I am most proud. For example, costume and theme parties are few and far between for us, because I don’t like to ask my guests to go to something they feel like they have to spend time and money on to attend or outdo one another.


From at-home events, to weddings, to corporate & non-profit, dining and holiday occasions, he is the Valley’s go-to for event planning.


The Scout Guide Phoenix & Scottsdale: As your clients’ constant, you collaborate on a variety of celebrations, from – in your words – the sublime to the ridiculous. How do you manage to create such unique experiences across such a range events?
George Abrams: The clients, the guest list, and the setting/venue dictate where we start. Beyond those elements, my aim for every event is to ensure that the host is honored and the guests feel appreciated. And I am not talking about party favors. It’s more about the experience – how people feel welcomed from the time they walk in the door to the time they leave, including the host. The most important thing is for the host to feel relaxed and for the guests to feel appreciated and honored. There is nothing that can turn a party off more than the feeling that something is not going well.

Photography courtesy of George Abrams Events.

The Scout Guide Phoenix & Scottsdale: It’s obvious that the experience – in addition to the tangibles like florals and food – are what define a George Abrams event. How do you achieve that?
George Abrams: In general, I really try to advocate for my clients and know what their needs and wants are, maybe even before they know.

The Scout Guide Phoenix & Scottsdale: What does that look like?
George Abrams: Opinions. I don’t like to say “brutal honesty” because that sounds mean, but I am going to have opinions on just about every aspect of the event. There are people that appreciate it and people that don’t. I would say 90% of our clients are repeat clients, and for those that aren’t, then – as my former bosses, Kristy and Tim Moore, would say – “that is why God created chocolate and vanilla”.

Photography courtesy of George Abrams Events.

The Scout Guide Phoenix & Scottsdale: Let’s talk more about your opinions. What should clients know and consider before hiring a wedding or event planner?
George Abrams: A very important aspect is the initial interview with a planner. You want someone to have a digital presence, and you want someone you know is legit and is not going to fold overnight. This is not always the safest business. As an event planner, I do my due diligence to make sure my clients are working with vendors that I have vetted and will be able to execute by the time their wedding/event rolls around.

Also, just because you see [somebody hosting] something on social media, does not always mean they are doing these events. There is never anything on my Instagram page that is not my event. My events are with real people and are real events. That is what I pride myself on.

The Scout Guide Phoenix & Scottsdale: Who are some of the local businesses you love to collaborate with? 
George Abrams: The Paper Place, Celebrations in Paper, Flora Bella, Avant-Garde, Angelic Grove, and Creative Event Rentals. We are also partnering with LUX Wedding Florist on a few events that we are super excited about.

Photography courtesy of @georgeabramsevents.

The Scout Guide Phoenix & Scottsdale: For our readers who love to host at home, what advice would you give to make it extra memorable and unique?
George Abrams: You can never go wrong with live entertainment.

The Scout Guide Phoenix & Scottsdale: Speaking of house parties, if you could have dinner with anyone, who would it be? 
George Abrams: Ralph Lauren in one of his homes.

Photography courtesy of @georgeabramsevents

The Scout Guide Phoenix & Scottsdale: Before we get too carried away picking your brain on hosting, we’d like to turn the conversation back to you. As you celebrate 20 years in business, we imagine you’re doing a lot of reflecting. As a business owner, is the best advice you have ever received?
George Abrams: My friend Brenda Howard–whose father was in the car business–always says, “Don’t throw in the floor mats”. When something is free, people tend to not appreciate it.

The Scout Guide Phoenix & Scottsdale: Over your illustrious career you’ve helped host numerous fabulous events. Is there one in particular that stands out?
George Abrams: My client’s 85th birthday on her 100th Crystal cruise. She took this cruise that was stopping in San Diego on the actual day of her birthday. When they docked (having returned from Alaska), I arranged for 250 of her friends to board the ship for a luncheon. Then we all disembarked and had a big dinner dance party that night.


“The most important thing is for the host to feel relaxed and for the guests to feel appreciated and honored.”


The Scout Guide Phoenix & Scottsdale: How do you stay inspired?
George Abrams: When I travel and window shopping. I am old school; I look at a lot of magazines, even if it is in the store. Also, from Instagram, I get a lot. And, of course, The Scout Guide.

The Scout Guide Phoenix & Scottsdale: What is your favorite part about living in the Valley? 
George Abrams: I love the constant change and evolution and I love, having been here for 30+ years, to watch it firsthand and to feel like in some way I have been a part of it.


Photography courtesy of George Abrams Events.

As the season kicks off in the Valley, make sure to tap George Abrams Events for your party, be it a birthday bash or just-because luncheon. And don’t forget to tell them Scout sent you!